HTA security advisor Jeremy Davies has warned for garden centre owners to be vigilant in case it happens to them.
Davies says Christmas trees are the most stolen item at this time of year. He added that that with government cuts people who have never thought about stealing might take the plunge into criminality.
Davies says they are easy to sell and the impact on garden centres is "huge" because customers go elsewhere - and make their associated purchases of decorations there too. He recommends extra lighting, CCTV and leaving the trees away from a place where they can be easily loaded- ie not in the carpark. Call HTA security advice line: 07889 719690.
Blue Diamond is to take over a new £5m, 6,000sqm Redfields centre, with builders on the site starting in 2011 and Redfields trading throughout. A Redfields representative confirmed the theft.
Most stolen at Christmas from garden centres:
Store Christmas trees in a secure location, not easily accessible by lorries and park works vehicles in front of the storage area.
Make sure your CCTV cameras are in good condition and able to record night-time images.
Install movement sensor activated lighting in and around the storage area.
Spray the bottom of the trees with coloured paint, to make them easily identifiable if stolen.